Owning Mahowny

Rated NR

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is again fabulous in this film about a Canadian bank clerk with a gambling problem. The best parts of this film, though, belong to John Hurt as the casino boss who exploits that problem. Indeed, while the film is in part about the psychology of Mahowny (Hoffman) as a gambling addict, the title gives away the true theme: the way in which someone with a problem becomes a valuable commodity. The casino bosses are shown as more educated and more evil versions of the kind of heroin dealers thought by overprotective parents to hang around schoolyards dressed as Barney The Purple Dinosaur. Owning Mahowny is carefully and expertly assembled, even if it starts out a bit slowly. A little patience, though, will be rewarded with excellent performances and a story that becomes more gripping as it goes on.

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